'We've put our man on top': Trump on Mohammed bin Salman in Wolff's bombshell book
US President Donald Trump took credit for the shake up on the line of succession that hit Saudi Arabia in the summer of 2017, according to a tell-all book by author and political muckraker Michael Wolff.
"We've put our man on top," Trump is said to have claimed to friends.
The shake-up in June saw Saudi Arabia's King Salman shelve decades of custom within the royal family, by naming his 31-year-old son Mohammad bin Salman as crown prince, ousting his nephew Mohammad bin Nayef.
When the announcement came, Trump congratulated bin Salman on his "recent elevation".
Just a month earlier, the US president visited the kingdom in his first overseas trip, signing a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi leaders.
In the book, Wolff described the trip as a "get-out-of-Dodge godsend", as Trump left Washington shortly after firing FBI Director James Comey.
"There couldn't have been a better time to be making headlines far from Washington. A road trip could transform everything."
On Friday, the US president faced a fresh public relations crisis with Wolff's publication, after his lawyers failed to block its release.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House depicts Trump as mentally unstable and in over his head, quoting key Trump aides expressing serious doubt about his fitness for office.
The book's publication was moved forward by four days, in response to a cease-and-desist letter from Trump.
The US president denied the allegations made in the book, which he described as full of "lies" and "misrepresentations".
The book includes extensive quotes from Steve Bannon, the US president's former chief strategist, who also received a "cease and desist" order from Trump's attorneys.
"Look at this guy's past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!" Trump wrote - a possible reference to Bannon or Steve Rubin, the publisher of Wolff's book.
"Your publication of the false/baseless statements about Mr. Trump gives rise to, among other claims, defamation by libel, defamation by libel per se, false light invasion of privacy, tortious interference with contractual relations, and inducement of breach of contract," Trump's lawyers said in the letter to Wolff.
In the book, excerpts of which were published this week, Bannon is quoted accusing Trump's eldest son Don Jr of "treasonous" contacts with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, and saying the president's daughter Ivanka, who imagines running for president one day, is "dumb as a brick."
Criticism from aides
But it is Trump himself who is cast in the most unfavourable light by a series of his top aides.
The book claims that for "Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, the president was an 'idiot.' For Gary Cohn, he was 'dumb as shit.' For H.R. McMaster, he was a 'dope.' The list went on."
White House issued a scorched-earth dismissal of the book, its author and his sources.
"I don't think (Americans) really care about some trash that an author that no one had ever heard of until today, or a fired employee, wants to peddle," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, calling the book "complete fantasy."
Behind the scenes, though, Trump has been enraged by the betrayal by Bannon - a man who engineered the New York real estate mogul's link to the nationalist far right and helped create a pro-Trump media ecosystem.
"He called me a great man last night. He obviously changed his tune pretty quick," Trump said in the White House's Roosevelt Room on Thursday.
Sanders suggested that Bannon's employer, Breitbart News, should consider firing him.
The original article was published in Alaraby.